March 24 - Volga-Dnepr Airlines has delivered the third stage of the Soyuz-ST launch vehicle to Europe's Spaceport in Cayenne.
Its transportation from Samara in Russia to French Guiana is in readiness for the vehicle to launch the US SES-15 satellite into orbit in early April for SES, a satellite communications company.
Progress Space Rocket Centre, which commissioned the flight, is one of Volga-Dnepr's key customers in the Russian aerospace industry. Having initially approached the airline earlier this year to discuss the delivery of the launch vehicle, Volga-Dnepr's Load Planning Centre produced a special cradle design to be used to lift the launch vehicle into the IL-76TD-90VD freighter and a step-by-step guide to the loading procedures being implemented for its transportation.
The airline says the safe delivery demonstrated the expertise of Volga-Dnepr's load planning specialists, and was assisted by the detailed project documentation they produced. The routing of the flight was also important given the fragile nature of the cargo, and was chosen to avoid the need for multiple landings en route.
"For last 26 years Volga-Dnepr has earned a strong reputation with global satellite manufacturers for our knowledge and professionalism in moving very sensitive satellite technology," stated Sergey Lenivin, key account manager at Volga-Dnepr.